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Searching for numberplates can be confusing, so here are a few pointers to put you on the right track.

Styles of registration

In the current market, there are 5 Styles of private number plate which must conform to the following restrictions:

This style is the current 7 digit registration; the first two letters are the local identifier – they represent the DVLA TAX OFFICE where the registration was issued and conform to a limited range. London vehicles for example have LR LS LT prefixes. FULL LIST OF LOCAL IDENTIFIERS
The two numbers represent the year of issue, starting with 51, 02, 52, 03, and so on.   FULL LISTING OF AGE IDENTIFIERS

The final three letters are random and can be any letter from the alphabet excluding "I+Q" I,Q and Z EXPLAINED
- New Style Number plates
Current style number plate example
Prefix number plates have a starting letter which indicates the year of issue, A is 1984 for example. FULL LISTING OF PREFIX REGISTRATION DATES
There are then 3 random numbers and three random letters. I Q and Z are not available as letters for this style of number plate.
I,Q and Z EXPLAINED Whereas a Current style plate is fixed to seven digits, this plate can be 5-7 digits, for example:
A1ABC / A12ABC / A123ABC
Current style number plate example
Literally the reverse of Prefix style, suffix style starts with three random letters excluding I Q and Z. I,Q and Z EXPLAINED
3 random numbers and then the alphabetical letter indicating year of issue. FULL LISTING OF SUFFIX REGISTRATION DATES
As before this plate can range from 5-7 digits, an example being:
ABC1A / ABC12A / ABC123A
These plates have no year identifier, they are simply random letters and numbers and are the oldest style of number plate.
Once more, I Q and Z are not available as letters. I,Q and Z EXPLAINED
These registrations can range from 2 digits to 6 digits and can be offered in reverse als, examples being.
A1 / A12 / A123 / AA1 / AA12 / AA123 / AAA1 / AAA12 / AAA123
1A / 1AA / 1AAA / 12A / 12AA / 12AAA / 123A / 123AA / 123AAA

Irish number plates range from 4- 7 digits. They use I and Z but not the letter Q, I,Q and Z EXPLAINED
Irish registrations are available in the following formats:
ABZ 1 / ABZ12 / ABZ123 / ABZ1234

PHONETICS

When buying or selling numberplates it is crucial that the numbers and letters are communicated correctly, especially if you are purchasing direct from the DVLA
With this in mind the phonetic Alphabet is widely used by numberplate owners and dealers alike.
Letterphonetic letter
AAlpha
BBravo
CCharlie
DDelta
EEcho
FFoxtrot
GGolf
HHotel
IIndia
JJuliet
KKilo
LLima
MMike
NNovember
OOscar
PPapa
QQuebec
RRomeo
SSierra
TTango
UUniform
VVictor
WWhiskey
XX-ray
YYankee
ZZulu
Phonetic numberplates are a great alternative – As combinations of numberplates are limited it can be difficult to get a Smashing Plate if your exact combination is not offered for sale.
Phonetics can offer more choice and value from your Smashing Plate.
Some examples
Tasty Michael Bye Bye Singh
umber plate umber Plate
You can use PHONETIC NUMBERPLATES in order to get your desired combination but you first need to have an understanding of which numbers and letters are interchangeable.
Listed here are all the letters of the alphabet and numbers that make up the numberplate alphabet.
A = 4 /17 /19
B = 8
D = 0
E = 3
G = 9 / 6
I = 1
L = 1
O = 0
S = 5
T = 7
Z = 2
1 = I
2 = Z
3 = E
4 = A
5 = S
6 = G
7 = T
8 = B
9 = G
I,Q and Z are not used as they look similar to 1, 0 and 2 respectively.
Exceptions:
  • CURRENT STYLE AB51ABC numberplates use Z
  • IRISH PLATES use I and Z
  • Q Plates with Q as the prefix i.e. Q123FDD are reserved for kit cars and vehicles with undetermined age, these vehicles cannot participate in the transfer scheme at the time of writing.

REGISTRATION DATES

  • You may not make a vehicle appear younger than it is.
    This means you cannot transfer a numberplate that is newer than the vehicle it is to be transferred to.
  • Mis-spacing or Mis-representing a registration is a criminal offence and liable to a £1000 fine and possible confiscation of the registration number.
  • You must have legal entitlement to the registration number you display on your vehicle.
  • When a vehicle is destroyed its numberplate “dies” with it and will never be reissued.
  • London County Council issued the first plate, A1, in 1903.
  • A three letter/three number series was introduced in the mid-1930s.
  • By the mid-1950s all marks had been allocated, so marks were reversed with letters following numbers.
  • The addition of a year suffix began between 1963 and 1965.
  • The registration year ran from 1 January to 31 December until 1967 when it was moved to 1 August.
  • The registering and licensing of new cars was centralised in 1974 with the establishment of the DVLC, now DVLA in Swansea.
  • Q plates were introduced in 1983 and are issued to kit cars and some imports where the date of first registration can't be established.
AAug '83 to July '84A123 ABC
BAug '84 to July '85B123 ABC
CAug '85 to July '86C123 ABC
DAug '86 to July '87D123 ABC
EAug '87 to July '88E123 ABC
FAug '88 to July '89F123 ABC
GAug '89 to July '90G123 ABC
HAug '90 to July '91H123 ABC
JAug '91 to July '92J123 ABC
KAug '92 to July '93K123 ABC
LAug '93 to July '94L123 ABC
MAug '94 to July '95M123 ABC
NAug '95 to July '96N123 ABC
PAug '96 to July '97P123 ABC
RAug '97 to July '98R123 ABC
SAug '98 to Feb '99S123 ABC
TMarch '99 to Aug '99T123 ABC
VSept '99 to Feb 2000V123 ABC
WMarch 2000 to Aug 2000W123 ABC
XSept 2000 to Feb 2001X123 ABC
YMarch 2001 to Aug 2001Y123 ABC
Jan '63 to Dec '63AABC 123A
Jan '64 to Dec '64BABC 123B
Jan '65 to Dec '65CABC 123C
Jan '66 to Dec '66DABC 123D
Jan '67 to July '67EABC 123E
Aug '67 to July '68FABC 123F
Aug '68 to July '69GABC 123G
Aug '69 to July '70HABC 123H
Aug '70 to July '71JABC 123J
Aug '71 to July '72KABC 123K
Aug '72 to July '73LABC 123L
Aug '73 to July '74MABC 123M
Aug '74 to July '75NABC 123N
Aug '75 to July '76PABC 123P
Aug '76 to July '77RABC 123R
Aug '77 to July '78SABC 123S
Aug '78 to July '79TABC 123T
Aug '79 to July '80VABC 123V
Aug '80 to July '81WABC 123W
Aug '81 to July '82XABC 123X
Aug '82 to July '83YABC 123Y
01ReservedAB01 ABC
5101-09-2001AB51 ABC
0201-03-2002AB02 ABC
5201-09-2002AB53 ABC
0301-03-2003AB03 ABC
5301-09-2003AB53 ABC
0401-03-2004AB04 ABC
5401-09-2004AB54 ABC
0501-03-2005AB05 ABC
5501-09-2005AB55 ABC
0601-03-2006AB06 ABC
5601-09-2006AB56 ABC
0701-03-2007AB07 ABC
5701-09-2007AB57 ABC
0801-03-2008AB08 ABC
5801-09-2008AB58 ABC
0901-03-2009AB09 ABC
5901-09-2009AB59 ABC
1001-03-2010AB10 ABC
6001-09-2010AB60 ABC
1101-03-2011AB11 ABC
6101-09-2011AB61 ABC
1201-03-2012AB12 ABC
6201-09-2012AB62 ABC
1301-03-2013AB13 ABC
6301-09-2013AB63 ABC
1401-03-2014AB14 ABC
6401-09-2014AB64 ABC
1501-03-2015AB15 ABC
6501-09-2015AB65 ABC
11601-03-2016AB16 ABC
6601-09-2016AB66 ABC
1701-03-2017AB17 ABC
6701-09-2017AB67 ABC
1801-03-2018AB18 ABC
6801-09-2018AB68 ABC
1901-03-2019AB19 ABC
6901-09-2019AB69 ABC
2001-03-2020AB20 ABC
7001-09-2020AB70 ABC
2101-03-2021AB21 ABC
7101-09-2021AB71 ABC
2201-03-2022AB22 ABC
7201-09-2022AB72 ABC
2301-03-2023AB23 ABC
7301-09-2023AB73 ABC
2401-03-2024AB24 ABC
7401-09-2024AB74 ABC
2501-03-2025AB25 ABC
7501-09-2025AB75 ABC
2601-03-2026AB26 ABC
7601-09-2026AB76 ABC
2701-03-2027AB27 ABC
7701-09-2027AB77 ABC
2801-03-2028AB28 ABC
7801-09-2028AB78 ABC
2901-03-2029AB29 ABC
7901-09-2029AB79 ABC
3001-03-2030AB30 ABC
8001-09-2030AB80 ABC
3101-03-2031AB31 ABC
8101-09-2031AB81 ABC
3201-03-2032AB32 ABC
8201-09-2032AB82 ABC
3301-03-2033AB33 ABC
8301-09-2033AB83 ABC
3401-03-2034AB34 ABC
8401-09-2034AB84 ABC
3501-03-2035AB35 ABC
8501-09-2035AB85 ABC
3601-03-2036AB36 ABC
8601-09-2036AB86 ABC
3701-03-2037AB37 ABC
8701-09-2037AB87 ABC
3801-03-2038AB38 ABC
8801-09-2038AB88 ABC
3901-03-2039AB39 ABC
8901-09-2039AB89 ABC
4001-03-2040AB40 ABC
9001-09-2040AB90 ABC
4101-03-2041AB41 ABC
9101-09-2041AB91 ABC
4201-03-2042AB42 ABC
9201-09-2042AB92 ABC
4301-03-2043AB43 ABC
9301-09-2043AB93 ABC
4401-03-2044AB44 ABC
9401-09-2044AB94 ABC
4501-03-2045AB45 ABC
9501-09-2045AB95 ABC
4601-03-2046AB46 ABC
9601-09-2046AB96 ABC
4701-03-2047AB47 ABC
9701-09-2047AB97 ABC
4801-03-2048AB48 ABC
9801-09-2048AB98 ABC
4901-03-2049AB49 ABC
9901-09-2049AB99 ABC
50Format is reversedAB50 ABC
Letter District Local office Codes
› A Anglia
Peterborough AA-AN
Norwich AO-AU
Ipswich AV-AY
› B Birmingham
Birmingham BA-BY
› C Cymru
Cardiff CA-CO
Swansea CP-CV
Bangor CW-CY
› D Deeside to Shrewsbury
Chester DA-DK
Shrewsbury DL-DY
› E Essex
Chelmsford EA-EY
› F Forest and Fens
Nottingham FA-FP
Lincoln FR-FY
› G Garden of England
Maidstone GA-GO
Brighton GP-GY
› H Hampshire and Dorset
Bournemouth HA-HJ
Portsmouth HK-HY
› K Luton KA-KL
Northampton KM-KY
› L London
Wimbledon LA-LJ
Stanmore LK-LT
Sidcup LU-LY
› M Manchester and Merseyside
Manchester MA-MY
› N North
Newcastle NA-NO
Stockton NP-NY
› O Oxford
Oxford OA-OY
› P Preston
Preston PA-PT
Carlisle PU-PY
› R Reading
Reading RA-RY
› S Scotland
Glasgow SA-SJ
Edinburgh SK-SO
Dundee SP-ST
Aberdeen SU-SW
Inverness SX, SY
› V Severn Valley
Worcester VA-VY
› W West of England
Exeter WA-WJ
Truro WK, WL
Bristol WM-WY
› Y Yorkshire
Leeds YA-YK
Sheffield YL-YU
Beverley YV-YY

OTHER USEFUL TIPS

Unissued registrations
You may purchase previously unissued registrations subject to availability directly from the DVLA.
Future Registrations
Shortly before the release date of a registration, all available combinations are offered for sale via the DVLA.
When a vehicle’s “life” comes to an end, the numberplate it bears “dies” with it. It is important that if your vehicle is to be scrapped that you transfer the plate to retention or another vehicle prior to disposing of the vehicle.
Once a numberplate has been disposed of it is never reissued.
Once you transfer your Smashing Plate to your car, the current numberplate becomes non transferable- this means that once you remove your Smashing Plate from the vehicle, the original registration number is reunited and cannot be transferred to any other vehicle.
Stuck for ideas? Why not get a dictionary / thesaurus or crossword dictionary for some inspiration?
Phonetic numberplates are a great alternative, please refer to our <Phonetic Numberplates section>
Large numbers of people buy registrations to display the following:
  • Name
  • Initials
  • Nickname
  • Business Name
  • Hobby
  • Funny / rude words
  • Vehicle make / model
If you can´t find the plate you´re after then you can place a wanted advert with us for as little as £10 and reach thousands of sellers in a click!
PLACE A WANTED ADVERT
  • You can Email us any queries or questions you have and we will be happy to assist
    info@numberplateclassifieds.co.uk
  • You can refer to the FAQ at the DVLA website http://www.dvla-som.co.uk/home/en/FAQ/
  • You can Email the DVLA vehicles.dvla@gtnet.gov.uk  
  • You can call the DVLA directly 08702400010
  • You can write to the DVLA:

Vehicle Customer Services (VCS) DVLA,Swansea, SA99 1AR

You can visit the direct government website: http://www.direct.gov.uk/Motoring/fs/en